What to watch: ‘The Big Short’ and ‘Penny Dreadful’ on Netflix, ‘Hannibal’ and ‘The Candidate’ on Amazon

Tom Hiddleston is Hank Williams in 'I Saw the Light'

Pay-Per-View / Video-On-Demand

I Saw the Light stars Tom Hiddleston as country-western legend Hank Williams in the story of his rise to fame and spiral of self-destruction. Elizabeth Olsen and Bradley Whitford co-star. R. Also on DVD and Blu-ray and at Redbox.

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie Pitt are a married couple in crisis in By the Sea, a contemplative drama written and directed by Jolie Pitt. R. Also on DVD and Blu-ray.

Boy and the World (2015), a nearly wordless animated odyssey from Brazil, was an Oscar nominee in the Animated Feature category. PG. Also on DVD and Blu-ray.

Also new: the Mexican crime cartel drama 600 Miles with Tim Roth (R, in English and Spanish with subtitles) and the documentary Mad Tiger about the performance art-punk band Peelander-Z (not rated).

Available same day as select theaters nationwide is Alex Gibney’s documentary Zero Days, about the Stuxnet virus and the new world of cyberwarfare. PG-13.


The Big Short is the funniest film you’ll ever see about the economic crash of the last decade. Which is also its secret weapon: it uses humor to guide audiences through the complex (yet avoidable) factors behind the mortgage bubble. It’s based on the book by Michael Lewis and it took home the Oscar for Adapted Screenplay. Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Brad Pitt, and Ryan Gosling star. R. Reviewed on Stream On Demand here.

The first two season of the Showtime original series Penny Dreadful (2014-2015), which stirs the characters of iconic 19th century British horror novels into a shadowy Victorian London of dark magic, is a rich reimaging of gothic horrors. Not rated but features explicit material.

The indie thriller The Invitation (2015), directed by Karyn Kusama, premiered at the SWSX Film Festival and arrives on Netflix before disc. Not rated.

Foreign affairs: the drama A War (2015) is from Denmark (not rated, subtitled), the fantasy spectacle Mojin: The Lost Legend (2015) from South Korea (not rated, subtitled), and the Netflix original teen sex comedy Brahman Naman (2016) is from India (not rated, in English).

More streaming TV: the animated Kuromukuro: Season 1 from Japan, the crime mini-series NSU German History X: Season 1 from Germany (subtitled), and the 13-part documentary series Adrishya from India (subtitled), which covers the history of India’s greatest spies.

For young kids there is the animated Word Party: Season 1 from the Jim Henson Studios.

Amazon Instant Prime

Hannibal: Season 3 (2015) stars Mads Mikkelson as Hannibal Lecter and Hugh Dancy as Will Graham in small screen adaptations of Thomas Harris’s novels “Hannibal” and “Red Dragon.” It’s the final season of this unlikely network TV crime series, a work of visual beauty in service to stories of gruesome violence, more European art movie than American crime procedural, and completes the series, which you can now stream in its entirety. Reviewed on Stream On Demand here.

The teen horror film All the Boys Love Mandy Lane (2006) helped launch actress Amber Heard and director Jonathan Levine (Warm Bodies). R

Fittingly for the political season, The Candidate (1972) with Robert Redford (PG), The American President (1995) with Michael Douglas and Annette Bening (PG-13), and Good Night and Good Luck (1995), directed by George Clooney and starring David Straithairn as Edward R. Murrow (PG) are new this week.

Also new: Whit Stillman’s Barcelona (1994, PG-13), Clint Eastwood’s Mystic River (2003, R), the romantic comedy The Wedding Singer (1998) with Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore (PG-13), and the cool caper film Ocean’s 11 (2001) with George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and a cast of buddies (PG-13).

Suits: Season 5 is available a week before Season 6 begins on USA, and it leads up to a real corker of a climax. 16 episodes.

More streaming TV: newly added this week are the complete runs of the high school romance / alien orphan series Roswell with Shiri Appleby and Katherine Heigl (three seasons), the high concept crime drama Lie to Me with Tim Roth and Kelli Williams (three seasons), and the con-artist family drama The Riches with Eddie Izzard and Minnie Driver (two seasons).

Amazon Instant Prime and Hulu

Terminator Genisys (2015) brings Arnold Schwarzenegger back to the heavy metal science fiction franchise and co-stars Emilia Clarke (the Khaleesi from Game of Thrones) as Sarah Connor. PG-13, also on Hulu

Gael Garcia Bernal and Alice Braga star in Ardor (2014), a contemporary western set in the jungles of Argentina. R, subtitled.


Carey Mulligan and Helena Bonham Carter star in Suffragette (2015), about the often violent struggle for women’s voting rights in Britain in the early 20th century. It’s interesting history— they became radicalized, turning to vandalism and acts of civil disobedience after 50 years of peaceful activism, and were treated like a terrorist organization by the government, which unleashed a campaign of intimidation and violence that recalls the American Civil Rights struggle of the 1960s—but filmmaker Sarah Gavron and screenwriter Abi Morgan fail to make compelling drama from the history lesson. Ben Whishaw, Romola Garai, and Anne-Marie Duff co-star, Brendan Gleeson is quietly commanding as a police inspector sent to put down the movement with similar tactics used against the IRA, and Meryl Streep gets prime billing for a few minutes of screen time as the firebrand movement leader Emmeline Pankhurst. PG-13.

Chris Hemsworth is a hacker genius in Blackhat (2015), Michael Mann’s sleek cyber-thriller. R.

Showtime Anytime

Southpaw (2015) rolls all of the “Rocky” movies into a single film with Jake Gyllenhaal as a hot-headed boxer, Rachel McAdams as the wife that grounds him, and Forest Whitaker as the philosophical trainer who rebuilds him after a tragic fall. There’s not a cliché left untouched but Gyllenhaal is all passion in the role. R.

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Sean Axmaker is a Seattle film critic and writer. He writes the weekly newspaper column Stream On Demand and the companion website, and his work appears at RogerEbert.com, Turner Classic Movies online, The Film Noir Foundation, and Parallax View.

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